Exploring community acceptance of rural wind farms in Australia: a snapshot
CSIRO’s Energy Transformed Flagship has undertaken a preliminary study to consider community acceptance of wind farms from a variety of stakeholder perspectives.
13 January 2012 | Updated 23 January 2012
Wind-generated electricity is a proven renewable energy technology with excellent resources in Australia.
The Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) requires that 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity be produced from renewable energy sources by 2020. Previous projections anticipate that wind technology could contribute to the majority of this target (for example, see ROAM Consulting, 20101).
Given this target and interest in wind farm development, CSIRO has explored community acceptance of the technology.
Technology into Society is a group within the CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship. A key area of research for these social scientists is technology acceptance and social attitudes towards energy technology.
The group has conducted a preliminary study on nine rural wind farms in Australia, interviewing the community, industry and other stakeholders associated with the nine farms. The aim was to provide a snapshot of the issues and identify future areas of research.
The preliminary study produced four key findings:
- There is strong community support for the development of wind farms.
- Many of the benefits can be shared or communicated in ways that would enhance community support for the development of wind farms in a region.
- Existing regulatory approaches provide an appropriate framework for negotiating wind farm developments, but there is scope for improving outcomes.
- The emerging notion of a ‘Social Licence to Operate’ provides a useful framework for wind farm developers to engage local communities in ways that could enhance transparency and local support.
- ROAM Consulting. 2010. The true costs and benefits of the enhanced RET. Report CEC00003, Melbourne: Clean Energy Council.